How to visit St. Petersburg without a visa?

led_01Do you want to see St. Petersburg, but you don’t want to apply for visa? Do you think that 3 days would be enough for you? If your answers are yes, don’t go anywhere, continue reading this thread.

I spent my Erasmus semester, when the responsible student organization showed us an opportunity to go to St. Petersburg without applying for a visa. Of course I wanted to go! The only thing you need to go to St. Petersburg without a visa (I meant the one you get at the embassy) is to take a cruise or a ferry. Between Helsinki and St. Petersburg there are ships which take you from A to B in 12 hours, and a sleeper cabin is included.  When you reach St. Petersburg, you get a stamp at the immigration “office”, which is valid for 3 days. Wohhooo, you can see St. Petersburg!! The only bad point of this is that you have to book a tour at a travel agency, so you cannot see the city just yourself. Well, if you can’t speak Russian, maybe this option is better.

So what did I see in those 3 days?

  • Hermitage – we didn’t visit the whole museum. It’s one of the biggest museum in the world, and it has more buildings, maybe 6, if I remember right. We saw 2 buildings, and spent about 3-4 hours there.
  • Palace Square – right in front of the Hermitage1
  • Peter and Paul Fortress – it was founded by Peter the Great. It was used as a prison till the 1920s. It has several buildings, including the Peter and Paul Cathedral, which has the tallest bell-tower in the city.1
  • Church of the Savior on Blood – the church contains over 7500 square meters of mosaics, more than any churches in the world.
  • St. Isaac Cathedral – the biggest church in the city, and the 4th largest in the world. The dome is 101 meters tall.
  • Smolny Cathedral – nowadays it’s used as a concert hall.1
  • Cathedral of St. Nicolas1
  • Catherine Palace, Pushkin, about 30 kms far from St. Petersburg. It was the summer residence of Russian tsars. 

I adored this amazing city, and in my opinion I could have spent more days there. I felt these 3 days were full with running, so to be honest I wouldn’t mind if I had the chance to go back.

We stayed in Hotel Moscow, which was a totally nice hotel with amazing breakfast buffet. The selection was wide, so I’m sure even picky people would be able to select their breakfast.

It’s not a disadvantage if you can speak Russian. I went into a McDonald’s and I couldn’t really order anything without my friends’ help. I though I can be understood easily, but it seemed the Russian girl who was there couldn’t really understand the word “cola” or “French fries” or “burger” and she nor understood when I was showing that I want “small” or “big”… 😀 anyway, it was funny, and eventually we could create that order! 😀

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